mend in the balsam by Mackenzie Ground

tourists visit our camp
mark our noted authenticity
note our marked authenticity
lacking there
never hunted môswa
just books with
prose statements that shatter me
this existence
the struggle of guilt
never feel political enough
never feel anonymous enough
                                 a sense
feel deceitful hearing of agamemnon
as i stumble through ceremony

words lie lie lie lieke poetry
words coddle meaning
words hide
try to soothe the dark black bark notch
in my soul

tourists who
make my thread turn sour
the skin pull taught
the beat pushshove me away

discuss the indigenous
dis the individual
.           use barbed narratives of
the disingenuous
and the disindigenous
though grow up westernthroated
i creedreamed dark coats of memories

so i know the mâyimitosak
before i knew their names
rough looking we are
notches deep grooves
the greatest array of greys
yellows greens and oranges lush
rough and ugly

but deeper than all
the books ive read
there is the most giving inner bark

so i will heal this black notch
in my chest
use salves of
cobwebs and buddy resins
kin of catkins connect

in the rustle of the leaves
to light the ceremony again

and for the wâwâskesiw who
gave me his back
to drum sound out again

in the rustle of the leaves
to light the ceremony again

i will pull taught
this notch
rough bark
to drum the sound out again



maskêkosihk august 2016


Copyright © Mackenzie Ground. Originally published in The Capilano Review (3.32, Summer 2017).


Mackenzie Ground is a writer from Enoch Cree Nation and Edmonton, Alberta. She is a PhD student at Simon Fraser University. Her writing explores the spaces of the city and the reserve, what does it mean to be here and to be a nehiyaw iskwew, and how can writing give back. She is honoured and thankful for her family and friends’ support.

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